Ghost of Nixon’s Past Haunts Polis Over Price Control – Full Colorado – Page Two

Jared Polis woke up to the noise, startled. Snap. Snap. He jumped out of bed to look for a hiding place, but it was too late. The door creaked open as Polis slammed against the wall. At first, all Polis could see was a bright spot. Then, slowly, he made out a candle, then tattered clothes, then a haggard face.

For a moment he thought Mike Willis had burst in to berate him about something, but no. It was an alien face, translucent, but oddly familiar. The apparition held up two fingers and said, “I’m not a ghost!” It was Nixon!

“I mean, yeah, I’m a ghost, obviously. What I mean is, I’m not the kind of ghost that seeks to possess you or tear you apart or spew green slime all over you. I am here to warn you and warn you.

Polis, now wondering about that meatless salami her husband fed her, replied, “Wait a minute, you mean that’s just a Christmas carol? Isn’t that a bit worn even for a food induced nightmare? Anyway, why are you here? It’s not like I spy on my political opponents. Not that I would need it! Have you seen this campaign? With that, Polis momentarily forgot the towering figure in front of him and chuckled.

TO BUMP! Nixon impatiently tugged at the chains he had just piled on the floor. “Look who you are calling a nightmare. Look, I don’t have much time here. I was sent by the ghost of Milton Friedman after Milt saw a magazine call you perhaps “America’s most libertarian governor” and then saw you sign several price control bills.

“Wait a minute,” Polis replied. “You imposed economy-wide wage and price controls from 1971, even before I was born. No one is stupid enough to do that anymore! Not in this country anyway. I haven’t tried to do that.

“No, you didn’t try anything so stupid. Boy, some Coloradans were so angry at the time that they started the Libertarian Party there partly because of these policies! I heard that Ludwig von Mises wanted someone to have a nice chat with this group, but I digress. You still signed a number of limited price control invoices. You can’t cheat the law of supply and demand! Believe me, I tried. As Milt said, price control is like putting a brick on a kettle rather than turning the heat down.

Polis, thinking quickly, tried to change the subject. “Say, Richard, did I tell you how I can SAVE YOU MONEY on chain oil so yours won’t vibrate so badly?” Maybe a temporary tax credit that will come out of TABOR refunds? Heck, I bet we could even get you a wagon grant to haul them, as long as there’s a battery somewhere!”

“Look, they don’t call me Tricky Dick for nothing,” the spirit replied. “It’s a haunting circus, not your ‘Colorado Cashback’ circus. It’s time to go.

Polis wage and price controls

Nixon and Polis stood in a grocery aisle, invisible to others, as people frantically searched for essentials. The shelves were empty despite the ration signs. Nixon spoke, “You signed the emergency ‘price gouging’ law, which encourages people to stockpile goods rather than save and discourages people from bringing in new supplies.”

“Oh come on, Dick; I couldn’t veto my own party’s price gouging bill! Those progressives would have eaten me alive! They care about perceptions and don’t care about “mean” people, not economic realities. »

“Don’t you think I know a thing or two about playing on perceptions?” People cannot eat or heat their homes with perceptions and good intentions,” Nixon replied.

Then Polis and Nixon found themselves in a smoky room of executives giggling and smoking cigarettes. One of the men, almost in tears from laughing so hard, said: ‘And then I told Polis that we would oppose the cigarette tax unless it hurt our smaller competitors by putting a floor price on our products! I couldn’t believe he fell for it! Nixon didn’t say a word. Neither do you.

The scene has changed again. A man lay dying in a hospital bed. Polis overheard a doctor in the hall say to a family member, “We’re so sorry; we can’t do anything else. Polis looked disconcerted.

“You only deserve a small portion of the blame here, signing SB21-175 establishing price controls on drugs,” Nixon explained. “This bill is just one aspect of a much larger movement to offset government-induced increases in healthcare costs by imposing drug price controls. Sure, the government does a lot to artificially prop up the costs of some drugs, like insulin, but price controls only cause other problems. In this case, due to price controls on its existing drugs, a company could not afford to develop a new drug that would have saved this man’s life. »

The fog came, then cleared. “I don’t understand,” Polis said during their next visit to an elderly woman as she sat at a table with a tear streaming down her face.

“This woman was working as a part-time nanny, but with the local minimum wage hike you allowed with HB19-1210, the family could no longer afford it. Now they are placing their child in a big box daycare center while this woman is home alone. Remember that wage controls are just price controls on the work people do for others. They prohibit people from taking a job for less than what the government requires. Sure, some people enjoy a higher salary, while others lose their jobs or never find the one they want.

Polis and rent control

“We have another place to visit,” Nixon said. A family finished packing their SUV and a small moving trailer, loaded up and started the drive to Texas.

“When you allowed local governments to impose rent controls (another kind of price control) on new construction with HB21-1117, it slowed down construction. Governments had already skyrocketed housing costs by imposing all sorts of mandates and building restrictions. This family was making too much money to qualify for one of the few designated “affordable” units, but not enough to pay a premium for the space they needed. So they go in search of more abundant housing elsewhere.

“I understand what you mean,” Polis said. “Despite your enthusiastic support for wage and price controls in your day, you are now against them. But it looks like you’re blaming me for complex situations. And, by the way, I also fought rent control for mobile home lots.

“I am here to visit you. I recognize that you have not pushed price controls as harshly as I have, that you have had a lot of help imposing various price controls, and that your actions are only a small part of larger problems. I also recognize that with your money, you will never personally notice the adverse effects of price control laws. But price controls are always a bad idea and certainly not in line with economic freedom, although Nick Gillespie and your buddy Art Laffer can flatter you.

Nixon continued, “I have to run now. Turns out I did other things I shouldn’t have done. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that I’ve said nasty things about blacks, Jews, and gays, so I’ll be working without chains for quite a while, I’m afraid. I have a lot of people to shake. Then he disappeared from view.

Polis sat for a moment to calm down, then crawled into bed and went back to sleep.

Ari Armstrong writes regularly for Complete Colorado and has authored books on Ayn Rand, Harry Potter, and classical liberalism. He can be reached with ari at ariarmstrong dot com.

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